Friday, 18 August 2017

Spotlight: Angel A - Mary Poser Giveaway!

Earlier, I was given the opportunity to read and review this e-ARC, Mary Poser. You can read my full review here:

About the author:
Angel A is a world traveller who shares her insights and experiences of global culture through narratives that are compelling, inspiring and insightful. Mary Poser is Angel's first novel. Her passion is to explore our inner world as revealed through the challenges, triumphs and revelations experienced in our outer world.

About the book:
Mary Poser is a novel about a girl who must overcome deeply entrenched obstacles to follow her heart. She crashes so badly, it almost takes her life. But this isn't her greatest threat, as how she hides her suffering to please others could prove devastating.

And now, I have been given 2 copies of iBook to be given away! So there will be 2 lucky winners ya!! Of course, it's open internationally!!!

How to win? Easy peasy... just comment below and I'll randomly pick the winners via Random Number Generator. So 1 comment = 1 entry ya.
  1. This giveaway starts from August 18th to September 7th, 2017. Winners will be announced on September 11th, 2017.
  2. 2 winners will be picked randomly using Random Number Generator and will be in contact via email.
  3. Both winners will each receive an iBook copy of Mary Poser.
  4. Please be reminded that vouchers issued by iTunes are valid for 4 weeks only so once the winners have been identified, they will have 4 weeks to accept it.
  5. It is open to all... internationally... but since it is an iBook copy, winners must have an iTunes account.
Paperbacks of Mary Poser will be released on August 21st, 2017 in all major bookstores. If you can't wait or prefers the softcopy, it is also available online currently from the below websites:

If you want to win a copy, please comment away!!!

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Bali: day 4

This is the day we idled by the beach, enjoy the sea breeze and the sun burn. No kidding ya... even with the tons of sun block, it was not working at all. Walking along the beach with nothing planned, taking it easy... going to where we feel like going inpromptu.

Lunch was non other than babi guling!!! Finally found the one we had previously and liked! Unfortunately no photos here as we were too famished to snap!

After walking and scouting and touristing, we had dinner at Warung Norman. They served local food with a mixed of Aussie but we stick to local lah. Our total bill was IDR 180,000... not bad for the many variety and huge portion!

After a fulfilling dinner and a comfortable massage, we headed back to the hotel. Time to pack-up as we are leaving the next day... time sure flies when we were enjoying ourselves!

Next: last day in paradise

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

MPOV: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

My rating: 4/5
IMDb rating: 8/10
Released: May 5, 2017
Director: James Gunn
Casts: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper
Category: A 2017 American superhero film

In 2014, Peter Quill, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and Baby Groot are renowned as the Guardians of the Galaxy. Ayesha, leader of the Sovereign race, has the Guardians protect valuable batteries from an inter-dimensional monster in exchange for Gamora's estranged sister Nebula, who was caught attempting to steal the batteries. After Rocket steals some for himself, the Sovereign attacks the Guardians ship with a fleet of drones. The drones are destroyed by a mysterious figure, but the Guardians crash-land on a nearby planet. The figure reveals himself as Quill's father, Ego. He invites Quill, Gamora, and Drax to his home planet, while Rocket and Groot remain behind to repair the ship and guard Nebula.

Ayesha hires Yondu Udonta and his crew, who have been exiled from the greater Ravager community for child trafficking, to recapture the Guardians. They capture Rocket, but when Yondu hesitates to turn over Quill, whom he raised, his lieutenant Taserface leads a mutiny with help from Nebula. Taserface imprisons Rocket and Yondu aboard Yondu's ship and executes his loyalists while Nebula leaves to track down and kill Gamora, whom she blames for all the torture inflicted on her by their father, Thanos. While imprisoned, Rocket and Yondu bond. Groot and Yondu's loyalist Kraglin free Rocket and Yondu, and they destroy the ship and its crew as they escape, though not before Taserface warns the Sovereign.

Ego, a god-like Celestial that manipulated the matter around its consciousness to form his "home" planet, explains that he projected a humanoid guise to travel the universe and discover a purpose, eventually falling in love with Quill's mother Meredith. Ego hired Yondu to collect the young Quill after Meredith's death, but the boy was never delivered and Ego has been searching for his son ever since. He teaches Quill to manipulate their Celestial power. Nebula arrives at Ego's planet and tries to kill Gamora, but the pair reach an uneasy alliance when they discover caverns filled with skeletal remains. Ego reveals to Quill that in his travels he planted seedlings on thousands of worlds which can terraform them into new extensions of himself, but they can only be activated by the combined power of two Celestials. To that end, he impregnated countless women and hired Yondu to collect the children, but killed them all when they failed to access the Celestial power. Under the influence of Ego's power, Quill helps him activate the seedlings, which begin to consume every world, but Quill fights back when Ego reveals that he killed Meredith due to the distraction she posed.

The above taken from Wikipedia.

This is an awesome movie!!! Very enjoyable from the start to the last of the post credit scenes! BTW, it has many ya! It may not be as logical but then it is a superhero movie with many superheroes and an unlikely villain. Emoted as many emotions from funny to sad to touche to spunky to etc!

Fast paced and never a dull moment, I nearly can't keep up with it! Quill having found his real father, Ego (How apt his name was LOL!). Gamora's new bond with her sister, Nebula. The adorable Baby Groot. Rocket's unexpected reveal by Yondu who has also turned over a new leaf. So many exciting plots within the action-packed movie!

Thankfully it didn't looked like it was cramped into this movie, paced well with realistic visual effects... truly a movie worth watching and I can't wait for Vol. 3 now!!! FYI, Michelle Yeoh has been casted ya!!!

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Bali: day 3

Wayan is back!!! LOL! Well, we were comfortable with him hence we were happy that he's back as our tour guide!

First destination: Tirta Gangga - entrance fee is IDR 30,000 per pax
Tirta Gangga is a former royal palace in eastern Bali, Indonesia, about 5 kilometres from Karangasem, near Abang. It is noted for its water palace, owned by Karangasem Royal.

Tirta Gangga literally means water from the Ganges and it is a site of some reverence for the Hindu Balinese. Strictly, the name refers to the water palace built in 1948 by the Raja of Karangasem, Anak Agung Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem. It is, however, the name widely used to refer to the general area which includes the water palace and the lush rural areas around. Tirta Gangga water palace is a maze of pools and fountains surrounded by a lush garden and stone carvings and statues. The one hectare complex was built in 1946 by the late King of Karangsem but was destroyed almost entirely by the eruption of nearby Mount Agung in 1963. It has been lovingly re-built and restored and has an air of authentic royal magnificence.

The centrepiece of the palace is an eleven tiered fountain and there are many beautiful carvings and statues adorning the gardens. The area around Tirta Gangga is noted for its rice paddy terraces.

The above taken from Wikipedia.

Second destination: Pura Besakih - entrance fee is IDR 60,000 per pax
Pura Besakih is a temple complex in the village of Besakih on the slopes of Mount Agung in eastern Bali, Indonesia. It is the most important, the largest and holiest temple of Hindu religion in Bali, and one of a series of Balinese temples. Perched nearly 1000 meters up the side of Gunung Agung, it is an extensive complex of 23 separate but related temples with the largest and most important being Pura Penataran Agung. The temple is built on six levels, terraced up the slope. The entrance is marked by a candi bentar (split gateway), and beyond it the Kori Agung is the gateway to the second courtyard.

The above taken from Wikipedia.

I loved this temple the best! I felt so at peace, light and serenity here. Though gloomy and wet weather, it was really nice to tour around, crowded yet the walkabout was smooth and the view was to die for. This temple is a MUST visit for sure!

Third destination: Sate & Gulai Kambing for lunch!
This was recommended by Wayan which is why we liked him as our guide. We want local food and he knows it best! This is really good with tender meat and yummy broth! Nothing beats yummy local food and it's only for IDR 195,000 in total!

Last destination: Pura Kehen - entrance fee is IDR 30,000 per pax
The state temple of the Bangli kingdom, Pura Kehen is one of the finest temples in eastern Bali; it is a miniature version of Pura Besakih, Bali's most important temple. It's terraced up the hillside, with a flight of steps leading to the beautifully decorated entrance. The first courtyard has a huge banyan tree with a kulkul (hollow tree-trunk drum used to sound a warning) entwined in its branches.

The inner courtyard has an 11-roof meru (multitiered shrine) and there are other shrines with thrones for the Hindu trinity: Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. The carvings are particularly intricate. See if you can count all 43 altars.

The above taken from Lonely Planet.

I've just realised the photos I've been posting are from my Samsung Galaxy Note 8.0 hence the lesser photos as we go. I did not upload those from my Nikon camera jeez!!! Thus explains the many missing photos! Well, will upload it as and when I have the time lah.

After a good shower, dinner was just around the corner near our hotel. Sadly, I couldn't recall it's name but it's authentic and yummy local food.
I think it was IDR 45,000
All in all, we totally enjoyed our tour arranged by Rai and Wayan of Bali Personal Tour. They managed our tour end to end with professionalism which I liked and ensuring we had a good time. They always make sure we do not feel rushed and have ample time to venture these sacred places with ease. Thanks again Rai and Wayan!

If you would like to use their service, you can contact them via email below:

Next: day 4 by the beach and nothingness.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Happy Birthday Mom!

Good food, good ambience with great company! An enjoyable evening with loved ones celebrating mom's birthday! Naughty Nuri's sure knows how to make it a memorable evening!

Mom, hope you had a blast, enjoyed yourself to the max... may all your wishes come true!

Friday, 11 August 2017

Bali: day 2

Our first day tour! We have been using this tour agency, Bali Personal Tour, for awhile now which was highly recommended by my cousin. Our previous tour guide was Wayan so we were looking forward to see him again but alas his colleague (I can't recall his name, thousand apologies!) came instead as his relative passed away. Nevertheless, we still proceeded as planned as our itinerary has been arranged with Rai prior.

First destination: Goa Gajah - entrance fee is IDR 15,000 per pax
Goa Gajah, or Elephant Cave, is located on the island of Bali near Ubud, in Indonesia. Built in the 9th century, it served as a sanctuary.

At the façade of the cave is a relief of various menacing creatures and demons carved into the rock at the cave entrance. The primary figure was once thought to be an elephant, hence the nickname Elephant Cave. The site is mentioned in the Javanese poem Desawarnana written in 1365. An extensive bathing place on the site was not excavated until the 1950s. These appear to have been built to ward off evil spirits.

This site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List on October 19, 1995, in the Cultural category.

The above taken from Wikipedia.

Second destination: Kintamani - entrance fee is IDR 30,000 per pax
Kintamani is a village on the western edge of the larger caldera wall of Gunung Batur in Bali, Indonesia. It is on the same north-south road as Penelokan and has been used as a stopping place to view the Gunung Batur region. Kintamani is also known for Pura Tuluk Biyu's 1,000-year-old "Rites of Peace" stone tablets and the Kintamani dog. It is situated next to Mount Batur.

The above taken from Wikipedia.

Lunch time! There are several restaurants with a nice view of the said volcano. We ended up at the last one as we couldn't decide which one to go for and our tour guide was a little clueless. They served a buffet of local mixed western dishes which was average in taste with some nice hot local coffee. Lunch buffet cost IDR 133,000 per pax I think... yea not cheap and quality not as good either. The only surplus is the breathtaking view.

Beautiful panoramic view!
Third destination: Gunung Kawi - entrance fee is IDR 15,000 per pax
Gunung Kawi is an 11th-century temple and funerary complex in Tampaksiring north east of Ubud in Bali, Indonesia., that is spread across either side of the Pakerisan river. It comprises 10 rock-cut candi (shrines) that are carved into some 7-metre-high (23 ft) sheltered niches of the sheer cliff face. These funeral monuments are thought to be dedicated to King Anak Wungsu of the Udayana dynasty and his favourite queens. On the east side there are five temples that are dedicated, according to one theory, to King Udayana, his queen Mahendradatta, and their sons Airlanga, Anak Wungsu, and Marakata. The temples on the west side are dedicated, according to the same theory, to the king's minor queens or concubines.

The above taken from Wikipedia.

Fourth destination: Ubud Monkey Forest - entrance fee is IDR 50,000 per pax
The Ubud Monkey Forest is a nature reserve and Hindu temple complex in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. Its official name is the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary (Balinese Mandala Suci Wenara Wana), and its name as written on its welcome sign is the Padangtegal Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. The Ubud Monkey Forest is a popular tourist attraction and is often visited by over 10,000 tourists a month.

The Monkey Forest lies within the village of Padangtegal, which owns it. The village's residents view the Monkey Forest as an important spiritual, economic, educational, and conservation center for the village.

The above taken from Wikipedia.

Fifth destination: Tanah Lot - entrance fee is IDR 50,000 per pax
Tanah Lot is a rock formation off the Indonesian island of Bali. It is home to the pilgrimage temple Pura Tanah Lot (literally "Tanah Lot temple"), a popular tourist and cultural icon for photography.

The above taken from Wikipedia.

It was literally crowded that we could not go to the temple and it was hardly easy to snap some good photos. So in the end, after resting our feet, we headed  back for dinner.

Last destination: Ayam Betutu Khas Gilimanuk
Betutu is a Balinese dish of steamed or roasted chicken or duck in rich bumbu betutu (betutu spice mix). This highly seasoned and spiced dish is a popular dish in Bali and Lombok, Indonesia. An even spicier version is available using extra-spicy sauce made from uncooked (raw) onion slices mixed with red chili peppers and coconut oil.

Betutu is a richly spiced Balinese poultry dish. It is often called according to its main ingredients; ayam betutu is chicken betutu, while bebek betutu is the duck version. This traditional dish can be found on the menu of luxury hotels or restaurants in Bali, and it is popular among tourists.

The above taken from Wikipedia.

Finally, having the famous ayam betutu at Agung Bali Oleh Oleh! As suggested by our tour guide, we can kill 2 birds with 1 stone i.e. ayam betutu dinner at Gilimanuk and souvenir shopping at Agung! Firstly, the said dishes were really tasty, fragrant and spicy! Definitely worth having it though cost a little more i.e. IDR 194,700. Secondly, after dinner, we shopped for souvenir till we drop! The prices here are affordable too. The only set back was it's sooo crowded and the tourists here don't seemed to know how to queue when paying.

Lastly, when we were back at our hotel, we saw a motorbike man selling local street food and we bought one to try. Our so called dessert LOL! Simple, delicious and cheap for IDR 10,500.
As you would have noticed, some photos are missing... not sure if I've downloaded it all but somehow I couldn't find it sigh! You can just Google lah for the images online if you want to know how those places looked like.

Next: day 3 of our second day tour

Thursday, 10 August 2017

MPOV: Spark Joy (Magic cleaning #2)

My rating: 5/5
Goodreads rating: 3.8/5
Originally published: January 4, 2016
Author: Marie Kondo
Translator: Cathy Hirano
Genre: self-help, non-fiction

Marie Kondo’s unique KonMari Method of tidying up is nothing short of life-changing—and her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, has become a worldwide sensation. In Spark Joy, Kondo presents an in-depth, illustrated manual on how to declutter and organize specific items throughout the house, from kitchen and bathroom items to work-related papers and hobby collections. User-friendly line drawings illustrate Kondo’s patented folding method as it applies to shirts, pants, socks, and jackets, as well as images of properly organized drawers, closets, and cabinets. This book is perfect for anyone who wants a home—and life—that sparks joy.

The above taken from Goodreads.

I sure like this second book as opposed to the first one as it's more detailed with illustrations to further educate us better. It made KonMari easily understandable and less tedious. As the full title suggests, An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, it further digressed in detail of it's original book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. So for people like me who had difficulty grasping it initially, this is a life saving book! Understanding the KonMari process better now and with my recent relapse, I hope it will be a successful festival this time around and I'll never rebound again! If not, there's still a third book in Manga version which is definitely easier to picture and understand LOL!

Summary of what I've understood is that we follow the main 3 rules - keep spark joy, discard with thanks and donate wholeheartedly. I've misunderstood it initially and thought that I have to declutter like a minimalist. No wonder I have rebounded! I couldn't keep or discard or donate accordingly hence I've lost the intention. By right, I am supposed to go through each item to feel it's purpose, if it's still required and let it go if it has served me well. I shouldn't abandoned it or set it aside like rubbish and then expect it to spark joy. Nor should I just discard everything even though it sparks joy but doesn't serves me anymore.

Rule of thumb, generally, if each items still spark joy with the heart still tugs upon seeing it, just keep it. This is not a minimalist challenge hence we do not have to throw away 100 items and keep only 5. This is wrong. The same goes with books where a lot of book lovers misunderstood. Even though I don't reread but whenever a book tugs at my heart, I'll keep it. I still have a cupboard full of a few hundred books as these are the ones that spark joy. Unfortunately, I have donated some which I would have wanted to keep when I did the first round of KonMari with the wrong set of mind. Nevertheless, no regrets, just hoped that it will spark joy to those who have gotten them.

Also to keep each items by category, to it's designated location diligently with much appreciation. The intention to keep all by category accordingly is so that it's not cluttered everywhere and our space would be clean, clutter free. We won't be keeping expired stuff too in hidden spaces or duplicates of it everywhere! Definitely easy to find and won't waste our time looking for it when we want it. When our space is clean, our mind will too and we will have more inspiration coming our way... it happens, not a laughing matter. Sorry to preach about this book but I can't help it LOL!

Anyway, we discard with thanks as whatever we had has already served it's purpose and reached it's end of life with us. Hence it will start a new life with someone new after we have donated it. Even when we have discarded it as it has spoilt, it's a life cycle so it could have been recycled into something else. We should be thankful of it's existence in our life. To spend wisely and not waste unnecessarily, to be grateful with what we have. It's really hard to pinpoint Marie Kondo's teaching and intention but the bottom line is we appreciate our life more, be humble and all good things will follow. Similarly to the law of attraction, like attracts like... clear mind attracts good thoughts.

Thank you, Ai Jou, for this meaningful gift which I will treasure wholeheartedly. I so love the illustrated diagrams especially on how to fold clothes, how to arrange the space, etc... definitely a good reference whenever I'm stuck... unlike my first book experience.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

MPOV: The Perks of being a Wallflower

My rating: 4/5
Goodreads rating: 4.21/5
Originally published: February 1, 1999
Author: Stephen Chbosky
Genre: Young adult, fiction, epistolary novel

The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky, Perks follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. First dates, family drama, and new friends. Sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Devastating loss, young love, and life on the fringes. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

The above taken from Goodreads.

Another awesome book which I thoroughly enjoyed! I'm on a roll baby... this year itself I've read many good books!

I liked that this book was different, uniquely written with straightforward prose. Stephen was able to reflect candidly Charlie's 15 years old thought with ease especially since it's in a letter writing format. It felt so surreal, reading those letters as though it has been addressed to me. I can feel Charlie's inability to express himself though a humble boy but I could also feel he's a little unstable psychologically. Perhaps the suppressed memory caused it plus his low self esteem... a self-absorbing youth with non-judgmental attitude.

Reading it with mixed emotions from feeling appalled to happiness to depressed... definitely felt surprised with it's aloofness, openly talked about drugs, cigarettes, sex, abortion, etc. It was like an open book of a teenage boy going through adolescent with a few good friends albeit older... some gay, some straight. His deep love for Sam, though one-sided, was sweet and nonchalant. No hidden ammo, just pure mind-boggling thoughts. I'm just glad that Charlie finally saw the light in the end.

I was surprised many famous books were mentioned here, reading assignments from Bill, a dedicated teacher, as he thought Charlie was a very talented student and always guiding him academically:
"Charlie, you're one of the most gifted people I've ever known. And I don't mean in terms of my other students. I mean in terms of anyone I've ever met. That's why I gave you the extra work. I was wondering if you were aware of that?"

Even I haven't read some of it yet so it got me intrigued and definitely added to my TBR list:
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs
The Stranger by Albert Camus
This Side of Paradise by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - read this!
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger - in my TBR pile!
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald - read this!
Hamlet by William Shakespeare - read this!
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

No thoughts of watching the movie yet... this book has already entertained me fully. Some interesting moments I've liked:
When they were in Sam's car, driving through a tunnel, listening to the radio:
Sam tapped her hand on the steering wheel. Patrick held his hand outside the car and made air waves. And I just sat between them. After the song finished, I said something. 'I feel Infinite.'

I was perplexed here when Patrick suddenly moved to kiss Charlie:
So, he said "thanks" and hugged me again. And moved in to kiss me again. And I just let him. I don't know why. We stayed in his car for a long time.

The moment he realized what was wrong with him when he was with Sam:
Until she moved her hand under my pants, and she touched me. That's when I stopped her.

"We are all infinite"


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